Friday, June 10, 2005

The Agony & The Ecstasy of Words

Most folks, at least those who aren't writers, believe an author's life to be pretty exciting. You drop a few words into the computer, send them to the Big Apple and lo, you're sitting next to Mr. Cruise on Oprah comparing notes about pharmecuticals. Alas, it's pretty much not that way. The average writer has two jobs; the one that pays the bills and keeps them from eating the household pets and the other one; writing. If you're really fortunate, the latter will generate enough cash to pay for the paper and ink cartridges you will blow through in a year.

At present I'm enjoying the aforementioned Agony & Ecstasy of mushing verbs around the page. Three projects are in the works, two of which have a contract attached to them so there are deadlines to be made. Project #3 is in quest of another contract. It's been a particularly remarkable year for this author, to say the least.

But now I have to deliver. Previously self-published, I wrote for my husband's company and set my own deadlines. Now those due dates are set by someone else, for the most part. Welcome to the real world. I also see the work more as a job now than before. The actual work hasn't changed, only my perception of it. Since I have a high boredom factor, change is good. Writing a new story is like a new love affair. Thrilling at first, but eventually you decide it's done and let your beau go and begin the hunt for another frog prince to flirt with.

The struggle is to constantly better your prose, find the perfect word for the sentence, create a scene that leaves your reader breathless. T'aint easy, folks. But then bending steel and racing into burning buildings isn't either.

That's my job. Some days the words are magical, some days they are moldy and stale. I call it 'pushing the boulder up the hill.' Fortunately, the view at the top makes it all worth it.

1 comment:

Peter said...

I don't have time to write much, but I can dream about it. You are a number of steps ahead of me, and I enjoyed reading this.